With February being National Pet Dental Health Month, there is no better time to brush up on the basics of good pet dental hygiene. Oral hygiene is an important indicator of the underlying health of your pet, but it is commonly overlooked. At-home maintenance combined with regular exams and cleanings ensures your pet’s teeth are in good condition, promotes long-term wellbeing, and prevents serious diseases. Here are some of our DVMs favorite tips for when it comes to practicing good pet hygiene habits.
Create A Routine
Start by incorporating healthy habits, regularly. The younger habits are introduced, the quicker your pet will become accustomed to them.
Make sure you are setting recurring times, whether it be daily or weekly, to engage in at-home preventative measures such as brushing your pet’s teeth and giving dental treats.
Like humans, brushing your pet’s teeth will prevent bacteria and plaque buildup. It is recommended you brush them daily, but we recognize it can be hard to consistently meet that standard. Even twice a week will help reduce tartar buildup.
Investing in quality at-home dental products, such as veterinarian-approved, flavored toothpaste (in flavors like poultry or vanilla mint) and a finger brush, can also help streamline the process.
Professional Dental Cleanings
Pet owners are recommended to schedule regular dental exams so your veterinarian can assess and customize treatment plans, as well as catch early dental disease preventing painful infections.
Professional veterinary dental cleanings are typically performed on an anesthetized pet and includes scaling teeth below and above the gum line to remove accumulated plaque and tartar. Coarse enamel surfaces are then smoothed with a finishing polish, which will have a “non-stick” effect against tartar.
Dental Chew Treats & Diets
There are numerous over the counter and prescription dental chews and diets available to help maintain your pet’s oral hygiene between cleanings. Dry food is preferred to wet – generally speaking – and there is even dental-specific kibble designed to clean your pet’s teeth as they eat! Ask your veterinarian if one of these diets could benefit your pet.
When it comes to dental treats and products, the gold standard is the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal, indicating the product met industry standards of controlling plaque and tartar in cats and dogs. Dental treats are also an easy way to keep your pet’s teeth clean but be mindful. Real bones, for example, may be fun to chew on but can cause internal damage.
Chew On This
Poor dental hygiene will often result in other health issues, such as periodontal disease, diabetes, or even heart disease. It is easier to prevent these issues rather than treat them, so make sure to schedule routine consultations with your veterinarian.
After all, we love to see their pearly whites shine through when they smile! Book your pet’s dental cleaning today with an appointment request here.